Writer: Ryan Gandolfo
2 min read December 2022 — The Palm Beach business community convened at The Ben Hotel for its first in-person Invest: Palm Beach launch conference since the pandemic, with more than 200 industry leaders attending the networking and panel discussions.
In his opening remarks at the event, Capital Analytics’ Regional Editor – South Max Crampton-Thomas provided an overview of the current economic climate of South Florida and Palm Beach County — highlighting the unprecedented growth over the past year and key challenges facing the region.
“According to many of the leaders we talked to in compiling our report, the key for Palm Beach moving forward – and also its challenge – will be to continue taking advantage of its strengths to ensure long-term and equitable prosperity,” said Crampton-Thomas.
Education and healthcare, planning and development and the financial future of the region were focal points of the event. The leadership summit was kicked off by opening remarks from Business Development Board of Palm Beach County Vice President, Business Recruitment, Retention & Expansion Tim Dougher, who spoke about industries such as financial services and, more recently, life sciences that have helped to further the growth of the region’s economy.
Our first panel of the event, ‘Twin Pillars: How the Healthcare and Education sectors can underpin the future economy of Palm Beach County and the challenges that are arising,’ featured panelists including Marie Been, Vice President – Network Development of Florida Blue, Julie Pilitsis, dean of Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU, Daniel Gropper, dean of the College of Business at FAU and Dr. Ralph Maurer, head of school at Oxbridge Academy. “What’s growing here in Palm Beach County is mainly in the knowledge space,” Gropper said during the panel discussion — while Been drew attention toward healthcare access. “We need to focus on our healthcare system and making sure Floridians have that access to healthcare.”
The second panel, ‘Building the Beach: How Palm Beach County’s real estate and construction sectors are responding to unprecedented growth — and higher costs — to shape the region’s future,’ was moderated by Valerie Neilson, executive director of Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency. The panel examined developmental strategies that leaders are taking to help the region keep pace with demand, infrastructural needs and growing sustainably. The panelists included David Serle, president-elect of Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® and BeachesMLS, Jones Foster Shareholder James C. Gavigan, Jr., Cottons & Company President Laurie Andrews and Clinton Forbes, executive director of Palm Tran. “What we need to do and policy makers need to consider is how can we make zoning more inclusive,” said Gavigan, adding that the permit process could use a refresh. Serle added, “The housing bond was passed and really incentivizes developers to build workforce housing — it’s not an overnight or instant gratification but I think we are improving.”
The final panel, ‘Capital Costs: Pursuing strategic growth amid market downturns and what opportunity looks like in a changing environment,’ covered the outlook of Palm Beach County amid concerns over an economic downturn. The panel was presented by Marc List, senior managing director of CBIZ and moderated by Troy McLellan, president & CEO of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. The panelists included Andrew Duffell, president of Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, Raphael Clemente, executive director of West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, Ward Damon Managing Partner Philip Ward and Ian Goldberger, CPA principal – transaction advisory, business consulting services at Kaufman Rossin.
The closing remarks were provided by City of West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, who shared the successes of the City and region over the past year and the importance of leadership during this period of growth. “We are honored to have you as partners to keep Palm Beach a great place to work and live,” said James.
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To watch the Invest: Palm Beach 2022-2023 Launch Conference in full, please visit our Youtube Channel.
About Capital Analytics & Invest: Palm Beach 2022-2023
Capital Analytics is an integrated media platform that produces in-depth business intelligence through its annual print and digital economic reviews, high-impact conferences and events and top-level interviews via its video platform, Invest:Insights.
The Invest: Palm Beach 2022-2023 report provides an in-depth look at what makes the region’s economy tick and the challenges that remain from the perspective of over 150 local leaders and elected officials.
The steady supply of a well-educated workforce along with the strong, collaborative environment among academic communities, state and local government and private industry have bolstered Palm Beach County and made the region a popular landing point for businesses and residents alike.
Invest: Palm Beach looks at the region’s key industries, including financial services, real estate, technology, tourism, and infrastructure, that drive the local economy. Palm Beach County has enjoyed continuous growth and economic expansion in recent years, fuelled by business friendly policies and a number of business relocations and expansions during and after the pandemic. Based on this solid foundation, the region is poised to continue its robust growth in the years to come.
For more information, contact:
305-523-9708 Ext: 233